US FINANCIAL MARKET
- Merck quarterly results beat estimates, helped by strong sales of its Januvia diabetes drug and Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer, but the company forecast 2013 profit at the low end of expectations. The company forecast 2013 earnings of $3.60 to $3.70 per share, excluding special items. The midpoint of that range is below analysts’ estimate of $3.68 per share. The company earned $3.82 per share in 2012.
- Exxon Mobil reported a higher-than-expected 6% increase in quarterly profit, helped by its chemical and refining businesses.
- Chevron says net income rose 41% in the fourth quarter as the company produced more oil and gas, improved performance of its refinery business and realized a gain from swapping assets in an Australian natural gas field.
- Beef price spike makes hamburger chains harder to stomach. Ground beef prices already are up 6% to 8% so far this year.
- Mexican governor sues Wal-Mart former lawyer-turned-whistleblower for the company and sought an apology for naming him in connection with the scandal.
- Sharp and Panasonic eked out a quarterly rebounded to a quarterly profit.
- Chrysler’s U.S. sales jumped 16% last month as the company reported its best January in five years.
- Dell is nearing an agreement to sell itself to a buyout consortium led by its founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners.
- U.S. tablet shipments soar during holidays, threaten to surpass PCs. Holiday season shipments of tablet computers touched a record 52.5 million, up 75% from a year ago. PC shipments fell 6.4% to 89.8 million in the October-December period. Apple shipped 22 million compared with 15 million personal computers shipped Hewlett-Packard during the same period. But increasing competition means that the market share of its iPad fell to 43.1% in the fourth quarter from 51.7% the previous year.
- The U.S. government has filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Anheuser-Busch InBev from buying the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own, saying the $20.1 billion deal could mean higher U.S. beer prices.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- US employers added 157,000 in January and hiring was stronger over the past two years than previously thought. The mostly upbeat Labor Department report Friday included one negative sign: the unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in December. The unemployment rate is calculated from a survey of households, while job gains come from a survey of employers.
- Those showed employers added an average of roughly 180,000 jobs per month in 2012 and 2011, up from previous estimates of about 150,000; most of these jobs came in final months of the year.
- Labor Department also revised December and November numbers to 196,000 and 247,000, respectively, additional 127,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
- The Labor Department also published benchmark revisions to payrolls data going back to 2008. It said the employment level in March 2012 was 422,000 higher on a seasonally adjusted basis than previously reported.
- The economy has recovered 5.51 million of the 8.74 million jobs that were lost as a result of the last recession.
- Private payrolls, which don’t include jobs at government agencies, rose 166,000 in January, whereas government payrolls dropped by 9,000 last month after falling 6,000 in December.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Inflation in the 17 countries using the euro fell to 2% in January compared to a year ago. Unemployment rate rose to 11.7% (record high) with some 18.7 million people out of work.
- Worst may be over for euro zone factories: Euro zone factories had their best month in nearly a year. Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 47.9 from December’s 46.1. But the index has been below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since August 2011.
- Markit’s PMI for Germany manufacturing rose to 49.8 points in January from 46.0 in December.
- Markit’s PMI for France manufacturing declined to 42.9 points in January from 44.6 in December.
- Markit’s PMI for Italy manufacturing rose to 47.8 points in January from 46.7 in December.
- Markit’s PMI for Greek manufacturing ticked up to 41.7 points in January from 41.4 in December.
- The Netherlands nationalized bank and insurance group SNS Reaal at a cost of $5 billion to shore up confidence in the financial sector.
- China had a $31.8 billion deficit on its capital and financial account in the fourth quarter, which increases the total deficit to $117.3 billion in 2012.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The Supreme Court of the United States convened for the first time, in New York City (1790)
- The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary A–Ant, was published (1884)
- A press conference announced the first electronic digital computer, ENIAC, was held at the University of Pennsylvania (1946)
- Terry Williams won the largest slot machine payoff to that time, $4.9 million, after getting four lucky 7s (1987)
- U.S. President George Bush (I) and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed an agreement of official end of the ‘Cold War’ (1992)
- Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” occurred at Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.